Breaking news: New Vista Acquisition Corp files to raise $200m in IPO



Credit: InvestmentU

Credit: InvestmentU

A new Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), or blank check company called New Vista Acquisition Corp has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise $200m in an initial public offering. This is the latest SPAC which intends “to focus our search for a target business operating in the aviation, aerospace and defence industries”.

It is offering 20m units at $10. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one-half of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50. At 20m public units, New Vista Acquisition would be valued at $250m.

New Vista takes the total number of SPACs floated in 2021 to 95, according to SPAC Analytics on February 2nd, 2021. The average size of one in 2020 was $279m, and the total number floated was 248, according to SPAC Insider.

The SPAC has been floated by CEO and chairman Dennis Muilenburg, former CEO of Boeing, chief financial officer, Co-President and director Travis Nelson, who served as managing member of Eclipse Investors and previously was an MD at TowerBrook Capital Partners; and chief operating officer, Co-President, and director Kirsten Bartok Touw, the founder and managing partner of AirFinance.

“Emerging technologies we have identified include, but are not limited to, electric, hybrid and distributed propulsion, alternative fuel, power and power storage systems, advanced materials and manufacturing technologies, digital networks and advanced computing, sensor and situational awareness systems, robotics and automation, software-driven data processing, machine learning and AI,” according to the S1 Form filed with the SEC.

The SPAC is sponsored by a Delaware company called New Vista Acquisition LLC, which has committed to purchase an average 7m warrants at the price of $1 per warrant. The SPAC will be supported with additional directors with years of experience at Rolls-Royce, Maxar Technologies and the US Air Force. Advisors from NASA, Universal Hydrogen and Uber will also be involved.

Bartok has previously told Revolution.Aero that operational managers with experience in their vertical of the industry have trust and respect which is a factor for SPAC success.

Aerospace SPACs on the rise

New Vista’s filing underscores a larger shift towards aerospace and aviation SPACs, which have been on the rise – almost one per month – since October last year.

Kenn Ricci, founder of Directional Aviation launched Zanite Acquisition Corporation, which will focus on advanced air mobility, sustainable aviation and other emerging technologies.

We typically have around $30m to invest in equity in each new company. With leverage we can make that up to around $100m or $150m,” Ricci told our sister title Corporate Jet Investor. “There are private equity companies interested in several billion-dollar companies but there is a gap between what we do and what the large funds are doing. That is why we have filed for a SPAC.”

In December 2020, helicopter operator Blade said it was going public via a merger with Experience Investment Corp, an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners. Through the merger, Blade will be valued at $825m – significantly higher than its 2018 valuation of $140m. The company also rebranded as Blade Urban Air Mobility.

The $825m deal included $400m in gross proceeds, as well as a committed private investment in public equity (PIPE) deal of $125m.

Then, on February 1st, 2021, private jet charter company Wheels Up said it was going public via a merger with blank check company Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle. This deal gives Wheels Up an enterprise value of $2.1bn and $750m in cash.

What all these deals clearly indicate is an influx of a lot of cash and interest in the aviation and aerospace industries. Perhaps more than ever before. Nick Fazioli, Jefferies’ MD and head of Commercial Aerospace and Aviation, captured this perfectly.

“This transaction validates the fact that institutional investors and public markets really have belief and conviction in this space,” he told Corporate Jet Investor.

Fazioli said this would spur others to look at business aviation investment. “We are seeing significant interest from companies looking to invest equity or lend debt to business aviation companies and this may encourage others and lead to more consolidation of the industry.”

In the advanced air mobility space, aircraft manufacturer Joby Aviation is exploring a deal to go public through a merger with a SPAC at $5bn. It has kept details under wraps for now, although it recently acquired Uber’s Elevate network – bringing total investment for Joby to $820m.

Lilium Jet is another eVTOL company seeking public investment via SPAC. Total investment in the sector is rising rapidly, with several companies in the aerospace and aviation sectors on the verge of going public.

New Vista Acquisition plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol NVSAU. Citi and Jefferies are the joint bookrunners on the deal.

How the inability to raise capital could hold the revolution back

Kirsten Bartok Touw, director New Vista Acquisition Corp and founder and managing partner of AirFinance

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